The UK and the EU will hold a third-round of talks this week before the crucial June summit, at which both sides must decide whether to prolong the transition period beyond December 31. Downing Street has always insisted the UK will not extend the deadline beyond the end of the year despite the coronavirus pandemic.
Fears Britain could be bound by new EU rules and regulations were heightened at the weekend following talks between Boris Johnson and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen on the international response to the COVID-19 crisis.
The European Commission is understood to be preparing for one of the biggest legislative revolution in the EU’s history to help the bloc recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
If the Government did extend, it would not be allowed at the negotiating table as Brussels implements vast changes to its laws and regulations.
The prospect of Britain being tied to Brussels any longer than necessary has prompted an angry response from Express.co.uk readers.
On Facebook one user said: “No more delays. Britain voted out. We should be completely out by now.”
A second wrote: “No extension needed… Leave completely and money saved spend on our own.”
A third said: “Boris we voted for Brexit what is the problem get on with it.
“We don’t want any Extensions. JUST BREXIT WE VOTED OUT.”
A fourth reader said: “This is why we must get out as soon as possible.”
Last month during the second-round of talks between Boris Johnson’s negotiator David Frost and EU chief Michel Barnier, both sides refused to budge on their “red-lines”.
In the discussions Mr Barnier also reiterated the EU’s intension to seek a “level playing field” with the UK on a number of core areas including justice, fisheries and regulations.
Mr Barnier also criticised to timetable for talks, he said: “It’s exceptional, never in the history for such important negotiations with any third country, have we been under such time pressure.
“The UK, therefore, cannot impose this short, brief timeline and at the same time not budge, make progress, on some topics that are of importance to the EU.”
On Friday Deputy Irish Premier Simon Coveney said the Covid-19 pandemic has made the timeline for a UK-EU trade deal “virtually impossible” and called for more time.
He said: “Covid-19 has made what is already a very, very difficult timeline to get agreement virtually impossible
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“Given the added complications of Covid-19, it surely makes sense to seek a bit more time to navigate our way through these very difficult waters in the months ahead so that we can get a good outcome for the UK and EU.”
Downing Street has reiterated its position and insisted any delays would increase uncertainty in the UK.
Number 10 also insisted any future legislation put forward by the EU would not be in the best interests of the UK.
A Government spokesman said: “Extending the transition would simply prolong the negotiations, prolong business uncertainty, and delay the moment of control of our borders.
“Clearly as the EU looks to deal with the impacts of coronavirus on the 27 member states, they will need to propose all kinds of new legislation which will obviously be designed for the 27, rather than being tailored in a way to suit the interests of the UK.
“An extension to the transition period would bind us into future EU legislation, without us having any say in designing it.”
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